Paola's Restaurant

4.5
1267 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
"Everybody in New York seems to be looking for the perfect neighborhood restaurant. I think I found it."
- Ruth Reichl, The New York Times

For almost 30 years, Executive Chef Paola Bottero has offered an authentic Italian dining experience and a warm welcome on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. An icon of the Carnegie Hill Neighborhood, Paola’s serves lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and Stuzzichini “lite bites” at the gracious bar or al fresco at the outdoor tables. Joined by her son Stefano, together they are committed to the freshest ingredients and the truest interpretations of La Cucina Italiana. Benvenuti!

What 1267 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KB
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Food is always excellent so is service. The only drawback is he noise level. Continues to be a neighborhood favorite in Carnegie Hill.

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SL
New England
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Paola's is my favorite restaurant in New York. The ambience, the professional service, the neighbourhood location on the Upper East Side are perfect. And every bite of anything I've tried on the menu is delicious. Try the fresh spaghetti with asparagus (so simple but sublime), the beet salad, the mushroom and truffle pasta. I come here every time I visit the city, and a few times per visit at that.

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PR
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Paola's is a wonderful neighborhood restaurant. The food is consistently delicious and the staff is very professional. The dining room can be noisy so it's sometimes difficult to have a conversation. When the weather is good, the outdoor seating is nice.

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b
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

First visit not in my neighborhood but would definitely make the trip

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d
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite Italian restaurants. The food and service are excellent. It’s so reliable.

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L
New York Area
53 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always delicious

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0
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

I have been to Paola' for many years. On Saturday night I brought friends from out of town. We arrived on time for our 8:15 reservation and told it would be 10 minutes. 40 minutes later we were seated. The maitre d seemed overwhelmed and unsympathetic, basically shrugging his shoulders. At the end of dinner they sent over two desserts which was nice but it didn't come close to making up for a bad experience. I will come back because I have had many positive experiences in the past, but they must stop overbooking. If not I won't recommend the restaurant again

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H
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

so disappointed in our last meal. gave us a table that blocked the aisle so we were constantly bumped. maitre d was surly. food was expensive and the dinner ravioli was so small my guest had to order a second dish to satisfy his hunger. Fortunately I have a small appetite, so I made do with my dish. The tables were so close, the waiter was yelling in my ear as he tried to answer questions for th next table. we were glad to leave, as they were, rushing us out. I wanted a gluten free dessert but the waiter was too lazy to ask th kitchen what I could eat. Won't go back.

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VY
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

This was a birthday lunch for friend who lives in the neighborhood. She had been there before for both lunch and dinner and recommended it. Our food was very good, we both had the same salad for lunch, but the service was very very poor. From the minute we walked in the door - the greeting was mediocre and cold - to getting our bill, everything was just "off". We both ordered iced tea to start, and mine came right away but my friend had to wait a long while for hers, even after we asked for it twice, and it was in a smaller glass. Food took a long time to come out. We had to get waiter's attention for everything, they were not paying attention to us at all. There were several large group tables at the same time, but still, there should have been enough staff to take care of a table for 2. Just a very unpleasant service experience.

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SA
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, great food combined with a great ambiance! We were seated on time, the waiter was attentive, the Montepulciano, the salads and the entrees were perfect.

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NH
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Spectacular food but it’s impossible to get a table unless you book one well in advance. It’s one of the few restaurants left in my neighborhood so we eat their food once a week, usually takeout...the service is attentive because they’re trying to turn over the table as quickly as possible. You definitely feel rushed but it was my husband’s birthday and we wanted to go out. Even if they doubled their space, they could fill it every night.

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DD
New York Area
200 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This is a perfect spot for a business lunch near Mount Sinai.

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D
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Slow service, mediocre food. Some menu items ordered were forgotten / not served with dinner and thus removed from the bill.

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J
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

Paola's is practically our favorite restaurant. But at lunch on Saturday, in an almost empty restaurant, service was spotty. Cooking was flat. We had to ask for salt/pepper. After, we blinked, like: What happened? I KNOW it's better at night. But if you don't care about lunch, don't serve it. - Jesse Kornbluth

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F
New York Area
86 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Never disappoints great service good food and value!
Always jammed... for a reason!

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N
New York Area
45 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

Our table for six people was not ready until 8:20, twenty minutes late. I booked on Open Table days ago, and then because it was a special occasion I also called and spoke to the owner whom I know requesting a round table. There was none available when we got there. The table I expected had a large top placed over it and it was set for ten people—/none of whom ever showed up. Our party was jammed into a round table better suited for four people. We were bumped repeatedly and reached over throughout the meal by waitstaff and by people at adjoining tables. Paola’s was a little too full of itself tonight. Disappointed. I won’t be back soon.

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B
New York Area
64 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent menu and quality and presentation. Good and friendly service. Very, very noisy. Hard to have a conversation.

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RL
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

By far the best Italian restaurant in the Upper East Side!!

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AC
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful romantic atmosphere! Service was attentive and food was fresh! Nice bar area and wine list. Limited outdoor seating available. Great place and will be back if in area!

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a
New York Area
50 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Paola's used to be great, a reliable high end Italian classic. Now, food is in small portions, over priced, unimaginatively presented, and with the grunts of erratic service. The pasta was perfectly al dente, I 'll give them that.

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BN
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went at 6:30 and everything was perfect as expected - great food - nice ambience - attentive service. I’ll be going back.

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LL
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

Food was lovely. Servers were nice yet never checked on us about our meal. No one was ensuring that our water glass was filled, etc.

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SL
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

We had a late dinner reservation (8:30pm) so they were at peak hour. Had to wait 15 minutes and had
drink at bar. Bartenders seemed tired and inattentive. Great food as always but would not go there unless
had an earlier reservation.

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NC
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food and service. A most enjoyable dining experience.

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J
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side.

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NY
New York Area
106 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Clubby feel to this excellent Italian in Carnegie Hill. Wide ranging menu combines the familiar with more interesting dishes – all expertly prepared. Here, you definitely know you're in NYC and the upper east side

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OT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

50th anniversary

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food and a wonderful experience!

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f
New York Area
58 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 2

Really disappointing. Offered three (3) different tables for 2 that were just by the doorway and close to the bar. Told that was only possibility. We took a table by the door, so only had a table to our right,
After another couple was seated there we actually felt like we were eating with them.

OK I get it, this is upper east side NY dining with the in people....but the food was very disappointing. Only our appetizer of Calamari was tasty. My entree was remarkably dry (chicken Milanese) and even the salad had no flavor. My wife's was a different dish that was barely edible.

The wine was good, which salvaged the evening !!

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JS
London
8 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a gem of a restaurant. One of the best meals I had during our trip to New York. The purpose of our trip was Broadway and good food. Paola's went way beyond our expectations. My wife had Veal Picata and I had the lamb shank. Both were outstanding. Veal Picata is my wifes all time favorite dish and she said this was one of the best she ever had. That's high praise coming from my foodie wife. I was surprised to find veal shank on their menu and it was fall off the bone melt in your mouth good. The patrons were mostly local residents which says a lot about a packed out restaurant on Tuesday evening. It will now be one of our must visit restaurants when in New York.

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l
New York Area
51 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

a little gem on the upper east side. Service couldn't have been better, never felt rushed.

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TV
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Been here several times, this time was different, I guess it was Easter Sunday, It was like eating at Grand Central Station, staff rushing around, poor service, we had to ask for bread three times. Ordered a bottle of wine, great one for only $70.00 well priced, staff never once poured the wine I do so myself throughout the dinner. It was very obvious that the staff were stretched to the max and could not handle the traffic that was constant and noisy. Lots of high pitched children. Anyway, I love this restaurant, but never on a holiday again.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Easter lunch.

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S
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Only complaint: had to ask a couple of times for a second split of champagne. Racked it up to the “busyness" of the place, but wanted to just remark. Waiters otherwise were very good.

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TT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as always!

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Z
New York Area
72 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always good. Service is friendly and food acceptable UES Italian

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KA
Caribbean
16 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Eggplant rigatoni was delicious. Caramel custard dessert was delicious. Coffee was fresh. Service was top notch. Will definitely return.

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d
New York Area
53 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Made a reservation here for 4 girlfriends as we were seeing an event at the Guggenheim.. we were all very pleased with our meal choices.. 2 decided to split a Caesar salad and the other 2 split the avocado/arugula salad, very good and waiter split salad and served as such.. All 4 entrees were equally as tasty, 1 mushroom pasta, 1 vongole' pasta and 2 grilled shrimp.. all repeatable dishes..
Service was ok.. not stellar not poor.. definitely a neighborhood gem..

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TB
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a surprise date night, following the passing of our beloved dog, Buddy. The early evening dinner was perfect and we wanted to celebrate our next steps after Buddy... we will miss him.

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n
Los Angeles
49 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always enjoy Paola’s. Freshly made pasta, excellent meat and fish dishes, creative salads, and great service make for a fine dining experience.

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